Online dating in your thirties is awesome. It’s also terrifying. I know some people who hate online dating and others who swear by it. I’ve gone to weddings of friends who met their significant others online, and have also listened to multiple friends tell me that they’d never go on an online date again.
If you’re single in your thirties and have never given it a go, I urge you to try. Obviously, stay safe and meet in public places and all that good stuff- but otherwise, be open to new experiences. If you want to be single for awhile, that’s awesome and perfectly okay, but if you’re trying to meet someone and don’t want to do online dating because it seems scary or ‘not genuine,’ I think you’re potentially missing out. I know that some of you may swear that you only want to meet your special someone IRL (In Real Life), but I feel like online dating only increases the number of people you end up meeting, and helps you connect with people who you might have had a hard time finding otherwise.
You’re busy and have a lot of things going on in your life and career- it’s hard to meet people, especially in big cities where everyone’s busy and rushing around. You probably don’t want to limit yourself to guys/ladies you meet at bars, or solely date your coworkers. Sure I know a few couples who’ve met in one of those ways, but I believe that dating is actually kind of a numbers game, and online dating exponentially increases the number of people you can meet. And meeting new people can be fun in its own right– even if you don’t find your soulmate right away.
So without further ado, here are some free online dating sites and apps to try:
OkCupid is probably one of the most tried and true free dating apps out there. It’s been around for a long time- it launched in 2004- so it has a lot of users, which is good. It’s both a website and an app, so this is a good one if you don’t want to be online dating on your smartphone only. OkCupid is one of the most writing intensive of the online dating sites- it requires you to fill out a bunch of question and answer statements (what they call ‘essays’, but they’re not essays). It’s a great app for sheer breadth of people you can meet, and, if you’re a stickler for grammar, it really showcases whether someone is a good writer or not.
Tinder is a swiping app only, and is not a website. You swipe people either left or right depending if you like them or not- so Tinder is the opposite of OkCupid, in that it’s not writing based- solely looks based. Tinder is known more as a hookup site, but isn’t limited to that…so it can be a bit on the hazy side in terms of what people want from being on the app. The swipes on this app are unlimited, so it’s known to become an addictive habit. Most people who hate online dating are Tinder users, so I don’t recommend it for beginners to the online dating world. I’m also not a big fan of Tinder anyway, because of their semi-icky nature and ageist policies.
Most people don’t know Hinge, but it’s slowly becoming an online dating fan favorite. It works by connecting you to friends of friends on Facebook, so it’s kind of like being introduced to your friends’ friends’ friends without the trouble of an introduction. You don’t have to do much to set it up, because, as it works through Facebook, it’s able to pull a lot of your data from your FB profile- so you don’t have to upload any new photos or write that much at all. The Hinge profile is a profile you can create in minutes. Also, although Hinge, like Tinder, is also swiping app, it limits your swipes to only a couple of people a day, so you can put down your phone, stop the madness, and have a life outside of the app. Hinge is a great app for online dating beginners since it’s easy and user-friendly, especially if you have a good amount of Facebook friends (the more FB friends you have, the more recommendation possibilities for the app).
Bumble is a swiping app, like Tinder and Hinge. However, there are a few major differences. One– it isn’t known to be a hookup only app the way Tinder is. Two– It doesn’t go through Facebook. Three (and most importantly)– It only allows women to message first. That’s the Bumble catch. So if you “match” with someone (you both swipe right= “yes”to liking each other), then only the woman can say the first hello. If she doesn’t, the match disappears within 24 hours and you’ll never speak again (on the app at least). Make of Bumble what you will, but I think it’s a neat and different little marketing concept. Bumble also has unlimited swiping- a la Tinder- so it can be addicting. And Bumble was actually started by Whitney Wolfe, one of the cofounders of Tinder. And Jane actually wrote about Bumble here before.
So go enjoy! Don’t be ashamed to be single in your thirties! You may never get to have this amazing time again, and some of your married friends may even be quite a good bit jealous of you. So go date, online date, and live it up!